SXSW under the influence of Artificial Intelligence!
After a year 2022 under the sign of Web3, SXSW has seen Artificial Intelligence invited in a vast majority of discussions and presentations. Through all the lectures of Amy Webb, Ian Beacraft, Kevin Kelly, Rohit Bhargava and the co-founder of Open AI, Greg Brockman it becomes undeniable that the future of humanity will be written with the help of the Artificial Intelligences.
The current buzz around ChatGPT4 raises many concerns for employment in many sectors. However, the vast majority of SXSW speakers liked to compare AI to a calculator or smartphone. It is indeed a tool that will simplify the life of employees in many jobs without replacing employees. Employees will need to be trained in the use of AI tools. Once mastered these tools will increase the capacity of the human being and relieve him of daunting tasks and low added value. This analysis is certainly relevant for the next 5 years, but in the long run, if we believe Amy Webb’s pessimistic scenarios, there is a good chance that the takeover of artificial intelligence will negatively impact humanity.
AI could allow a better control of populations, the democratization of deepfakes, the end of digital privacy and especially an increase of the digital divide between those who will have access to AI and those who will not. Amy Webb even mentioned a scenario in which humans ask a generative AI to create a vaccine to limit the spread of diseases and the result is that this vaccine makes man sterile to limit the number of sick people by limiting the number of human beings. We will therefore have to master the art of prompt with this type of request. On the other hand Rohit Bhargava suggests that romantic relationships with AI will develop. Which in the long run could end up like Amy Webb, which is less human on the planet.
For Ian Beacraft and other experts, the majority of tomorrow’s Internet content will only be created by generative AI. These same AI will allow each person to create their own hyper personalized metavers. A metaverse that will rely on the real world thanks to augmented reality via connected glasses or lenses. Each individual will then have the opportunity to see the world in a way altered to his own liking whether in his home or in the city. Until then, rest assured, Wunderman Thompson’s Sentient-O-Meter was able to demonstrate that ChatGPT had the IQ of a toaster.
In the world of media and entertainment, SXSW’s conferences were very clear in understanding the power of the TikToK platform with GenZ. This generation now favors the Chinese social network to discover new artists, new series, new films, new video games and even get inspired to dress. So a whole segment of consumption is dictated by the algorithm of the Asian platform that many did not take seriously 4 years ago. This hegemony raises serious concerns about the use of data and respect for privacy. Alexandra Reeve Givens of the Center for Democracy & Technology, explained during her speech that today governments can very easily use your phone data to convict you in a court case. It could even be that with the rise of the AI this monitoring and condemnations are done automatically. That would be the end of democracy, she said. Unfortunately this is not science fiction, in Texas where abortion is forbidden, a mother has been condemned by the courts for having helped her daughter in her research to get an abortion in another state. Justice has used the history of its Internet searches. It is obviously to avoid this type of technological misappropriation that decentralized digital identity can take on its full meaning.
Brazilian company Unico explained that decentralized digital identity could serve as a bulwark against the rise of totalitarian and anti-democratic regimes. More particularly with the Zero Proof of Knowledge, which allows to validate a data or information without disclosing the entirety of this information. With a remote identity in the public blockchain, the only entry point to read user data will be the private key. So the user will be able to get hold of that personal data. They will decide whether they want to share it or not. But it will only work with real decentralization. Decentralization is non-existent for Molly White. She believes that the world of the Web3 will not change anything because it is not built in the right way and that the majority of infrastructures are held by centralized actors.
The health conferences made a huge focus on scientific research around hallucinogenic mushrooms and cannabis to relieve cancer patients. Fungi are also well studied to develop treatments for neurodegenerative diseases. The startup Journey Colab is working on the use of psychotropics to support people suffering from addiction such as alcoholism. The psychedelic medicine market is booming in the United States whose market is expected to be valued around $100 billion in 2035. But health is also gene therapies, that is, the ultra-personalization of medical treatments through genetic analysis of patients. The analysis then creates a medical response associated with the patient’s gene. It was the accumulation of these new technologies around health that led many experts to say that there was a very good chance that the first person who will live to 150 years was already born.
More generally it turns out that in developing countries 50% of children under 5 should one day celebrate their hundredth birthday. Suffice to say that governments will very quickly have to anticipate this ultra-aging of populations in order to have adequate infrastructure.
Once again SXSW plays its role wonderfully and allows participants to become aware of the challenges ahead for humanity, States, companies and each individual. Are you ready to fall in love with an AI, to live in an altered world, to be manipulated by deepfakes for the next hundred years? Unless we’re already in the matrix without knowing it.